We Mak aranga -ments for Makaranga


Today it was decided that we would breakfast at one of our favourite places for getting a change of air – the Makaranga garden in Kloof. At 33 km away from home (30 minutes-odd) it is just far away and up enough to be in a different climate zone. The gardens are named for the towering wild poplars which line the river of this 30 acre property, which features a waterfall at one end as well as strings of ponds incorporating an impressive Japanese garden.

We first knew the wonderful spot when it was a haven for Camellias, owned by a world expert on them (I think his name was Leslie Riddell), who threw a temper tantrum if you called them ‘cam-mee-lias’, pointing out that a double L means the ‘mell’ should rhyme with ‘tell’. Anyway. The Lodge is now part of the Protea Hotel group, but fortunately the wonderful botanical gardens have been kept up to scratch. There is also a magnificent collection of Zimbabwe stone statues dotted at various spots and featuring many sculptors.

We didn’t quite leave on time – so the breakfast became a lunch after the kids had enjoyed a swim, and then we went for a stroll in the beautiful gardens before the mist belt produced some typical mist and rain (which we left behind as soon as we came back down the little escarpment at Field’s Hill}.

The food was good and reasonably priced, the kids had fun, and we enjoyed the amazing selections of plants that can be viewed there. Sadly, we had just missed the Azaleas out in all their glory. Next year!

The view from the Lodge over a pond ...

The view from the Lodge over a pond …

...with this Egyptian goose

…with this Egyptian goose

Pre-lunch swim

Pre-lunch swim

Our kid and grandkids in mid-stroll

Our kid and grandkids in mid-stroll

The Japanese gardens

The Japanese gardens

Closer detail of across the island

Closer detail of across the island

One of the descriptive signs

One of the descriptive signs

The largest of his carvings

The largest of his carvings

Some more on the other side

Some more on the other side

R and J do some rock-climbing

R and J do some rock-climbing

(I tried a Gallery Slideshow here, but abandoned it.  It didn’t work for these.)

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
Posted in Africa, Art, Gardens, Grandchildren, Personal Journal, Photography, Swimming | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Angles on a slide-show.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “From Every Angle.”

Following on the jungle gym demolition featured yesterday, I now focus on an article which kept slipping in prominently – the slide.  Yesterday afternoon it occurred to me that I should try to invent a way of making use of it for the time being until a new creation arises from the bits and/or we put in a pool. This was the result:

This wall seemed ideal, and the ladder from the jungle gym to the left gives easy access - well, to the agile it does!

This wall seemed ideal, and the ladder from the jungle gym to the left gives easy access – well, to the agile it does!

I tested it and the ladder leading to it, and found them to be firm. Nevertheless, Much Better Half went into freak-out mode when I suggested the grandgirls should try it. The latter were also most dubious, especially when looking from the top:

Scary, isn't it? Note my really respectable shoe - haha - and as a matter of interest the pipe on the lawn is feeding washing machine and washing-up water to the grass during the drought.

Scary, isn’t it?
Note my really respectable shoe – haha – and as a matter of interest the pipe on the lawn is feeding washing machine and washing-up water to the grass during the drought.

I positioned myself halfway to catch them, and encouraged them to go for it. Each time I slowed them down a bit lower, until finally my services were no longer required and a dizzy cycle of ladder-climbing and slide-slithery commenced, continuing with enthusiasm this morning. Both of them even mastered the art of climbing up the slide – barefooted, of course.

Slide from side

This indicates how steep it actually is.

Their mother also had cadenzas when she saw the construction, and was amazed when she viewed her young offspring zooming up and down. She has refused to try it herself.

The height can be seen in relation to young R - taking a break from sliding while cuddling a Gemma fresh from the Pooch Parlour, which all four dogs attended today.  I had a ferry busy time hounding them into the car.

The height can be seen in relation to young R – taking a break from sliding while cuddling a Gemma fresh from the Pooch Parlour, which all five dogs attended today. I had a ferry busy time hounding them into the car.  The poles behind her have been set aside for a swing I hope to make.

I have a theory that over-protection from things which provide real risk to the incautious actually makes children more vulnerable – they haven’t learnt to cope with them when (as inevitably happens) such situations do arise. My theory is not, however, popular with the other adult part of this little family.

So I have given four angles instead of three.  Do I get Brownie points?

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
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A Platform for a Really Awfully Moving Activity


Removal of jungle gym - early on day two.

Removal of jungle gym – on morning two after morning one’s progress.

Next door there was a jungle gym
Of size that was impressive
New tenants took a view quite dim
(With kids they’re not progressive):
They thought some flowers on that spot
Quite greatly would improve it;
Their landlord told me, “Wood you’ve got
If you ‘wood’ care to move it.”

Gym part of yesterday's stash

Part of yesterday’s stash of timber.

A friend and I attacked the thing,
With screwdriver and hammer,
A separated form to bring
About, without a stammer;
A million screws we soon unscrewed,
And nails we extricated,
The pile of timber grewed and grewed,
At which we grewed elated.

Work in progress

Work in progress

Slide removed but to be moved.

The slide removed, now to be moved to where it will be moved to while it is decided where it will finally be moved to.

Some timber accumulates our side ...

Some timber accumulates our side …

Then over fence we took our haul,
In manner energetic,
To move the slide quite took our all –
Our wails were most pathetic –
But finally the spot right here
Where gym had once existed,
Was, for their flower beds, quite clear …
Our place has ‘t all enlisted!

The jungle gym that no longer is.

The jungle gym that no longer is.

The final batch transferred.

The final batch transferred.

But now, to make another one
Will take a lot more doing,
In fact, before that one is done,
The day I may be ruing;
But meantime I have sorted it
Into some nifty stacking …
Now must not have aborted it,
For energy gone lacking!

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
Posted in Humorous rhyme, journal., Photography, Really Awful Rhyme, Renovations | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

A flying start at the tail-end of Wordless Wednesday


Young R setting off - picture courtesy of anudder mudder wif better equipment than mine ...

Young R setting off – picture courtesy of anudder mudder wif better equipment than mine …

Immy running(I can never be totally wordless – as may have been noticed time and again!)

The above picture reminded me strongly of this illustration Amanda Fieldgate did for my ‘Immy’ series, of Immy with hair also flying …

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
Posted in Books, Grandchildren, Personal Journal, Photography, writing | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Recording a Good Day Gives a Bad Day …


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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Today Was a Good Day.”

I’ve always blithely ignored ‘Gallery’ before – not knowing what it was.  This prompt has made me find out.  I like it.  I did wonder, vaguely, how these brilliant bloggers were achieving slide shows on their blogs.

Anyway, the ‘today’ was actually yesterday, but I couldn’t get the pictures to load. 

It is always a good day when I am fully involved with the grandchildren and their activities.  This day had me even more involved than usual!  First, the sports day for young R, and I arrived just in time to see her bounding to a second place in the race she had been entered for.  Her house won, too, plus getting the ‘Spirit’ trophy, so that was great!

Then it was back to pick up J from her school.  The parents really did do distant whale-watching while waiting for the release of the kids, but I cheated with the picture.  I didn’t take any there, and had to go to my archives to produce my past pictures of similar scenes.  These are closer than one sees from the school, where one is mainly watching for plumes and splashes.

Then it was back to R’s school to watch her training with the Squad and to bring her home.  It was then finally decided that it would be hopeless to try to keep a Wendy House erected a couple of days ago – on the non-entry side of the house – a secret any longer, so they were introduced to it, wet paint and all.  ‘Look; but don’t touch!’ 

So after that it was, of course, a matter of getting the paint off J’s hands …

Then we went out for a good meal at our favourite local called the Chicken Shack, with a superior kiddie playground and pizzas to die for.

Windows seized up as I was ready to post this – fortunately the draft did come up, but only when I started all over again.  It wasn’t among my ‘dashboard’ drafts.  On seeing that, I had commented, ‘Dearie me!’ or certain words slightly more strongly to that effect, but I sang a solo version of the Hallelujah Chorus in recompense when I found it.

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
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Return of Roving Retainer Gets One’s Goat …


Translate etc heading

The missing maid breezed in this morning at her normal ten-minutes-late time. Pressed for an explanation, she conveyed that her son had been taken to hospital with chest problems – we think tuberculosis, but can’t be sure as this may have been words put into her ‘Yesses’ by Much Better Half.

Questions as to why she didn’t let us know were met with smiling non-communication. Methinks a written warning will be appropriate.

She really is good at getting one’s goat, so here are some more of the one I used yesterday for her to have a go at getting – just kidding.

Goat 2 Goat 3

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
Posted in Humour, Personal Journal, Photography, Wordplay | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

The Mystery of the Missing Maid –


– Dilemma of the Disappearing Domestic – Conundrum of the Clean-gone Cleaner – Vicissitude of the Vanishing Varletess – Amazing Affair of the Absconded Abigail* –

Once upon a time, in fact three years ago, the family took on the services of a nursemaid/housekeeper as a replacement for, and recommended by, an overqualified lady who had now found a job more suited to her superior talents  – she was a licenced driver and had previously managed a section in a cleaning company.

It soon became clear that conducting a conversation with the new live-in addition to the household was an exercise in futility – she responded with a charming smile and a ‘Yes’ to almost anything. Yet her duties were carried out faithfully, if a little feather-headedly at times (example: sweeping dust against a wall before sweeping it from there, with some difficulty, into a dustpan), and she was good with the two children. They got on well with her, which was another plus.

Her attendance record was fine: only on a couple of occasions did she fail to turn up for work early on Monday after a weekend at home, but she always phoned to let us know the nature of her emergency.

On Friday afternoon she knocked off early as usual. On Monday she failed to return, and could not be reached by mobile or at any of the other numbers she had left. She remains missing, and an investigation of her apartment (a more-than-normally comfortable one which could serve well for newlyweds) reveals that a number of her clothes, at least, remain – so it would not appear she has simply walked out. She is due for more than half a month’s pay, anyway.

Her enrolment documents which might give more particulars on contacts and addresses are somewhere in one of the boxes stored in the house for unpacking when we are finally able to move in. Heaven knows where to start looking. All we can do now is to take the meagre information we do have on her, and file a missing person report.

Meanwhile, our housekeeping skills are being revived. Inter alia, I can do a wonderful washing-up, and a nifty taking-washing-off-the-line. I drive a vacuum cleaner with Formula 1 panache, make a mean bed, and tidy up after two little girls without (too much) complaint.

*Not her name, but occupation.

Writing etc is taking another bit of a knock, though.

And now, for the pictorial section of this post, some more recent Midlands shots.  These are taken on the site of ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’, one of the best places to eat out I have ever come across.  Unless you book early you haven’t much of a hope of being seated.  As may be seen, there are things to amuse kids and adults alike.

Goat Pig and ducks Kids at 'The Farmer's Daughter'

© Colonialist August 2015 (WordPress)
Posted in Personal Journal, Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments